Workforce Innovation and Inclusion Project: Research

Talent shortages have become a major challenge for Canadian businesses with organizations stressing the need for innovative strategies to address growing skills gaps. Despite the availability of programs that support the economic integration of newcomers, immigrant employment outcomes are still far below that of their Canadian-born counterparts.

We conducted research and analysis to drive innovation and understand user experience, focusing on research activities and service delivery improvements that support employment outcomes and the entrepreneurial spirit of newcomers.

Our team reviewed innovation in the settlement sector, spoke with diverse stakeholders to understand gaps, barriers and needs, mapped the landscape in our target regions and tested innovative solutions.

Highlights from our findings are below.

Stay tuned for the Diversity Institute’s Workforce Innovation and Inclusion Report.

Research Highlights

WIIP Database

Collaborating with our partners Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), Future Skills Centre and Association for Canadian Studies, we conducted an ecosystem mapping to identify close to 750 programs providing newcomers with skills development and work-related training, including entrepreneurship supports.

We’ve mapped programs across the WIIP target regions — British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia — and with the help of TRIEC, we were able to add a mapping of Manitoba’s service delivery ecosystem in the area of skills development and work-related training.

Explore the Database

Needs Assessment

We spoke to stakeholders in the sector — employers, service providers, public servants — to understand the gaps in knowledge, barriers facing newcomers, strategies for improved cross-sector collaboration and potential areas for innovation.

Evidence Review

We conducted a review of more than 600 reports, articles, studies, conference proceedings and grey literature, which has given us valuable insights about the current state of service delivery improvements. 

Highlights from our review include:

  • A need to clearly define “innovation” in the context of service delivery improvement
  • Value in streamlining the user journey through settlement supports and services
  • New challenges and unexpected benefits in service delivery brought by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Trends in innovative programing, tools and approaches show flexible supports like toolkits are a responsive approach to user needs
  • Siloing and fragmentation continue in the sector but new strategies are minimizing duplication of services
  • Addressing users excluded by the definitions of “newcomer” is a barrier from access to services for many newcomers

Stay tuned for our Workforce Innovation and Inclusion Report to find out more.

WIIP Evaluation Guide

We created a WIIP Evaluation Guide, based on service delivery improvement priorities identified by the IRCC, and insights from project research and activities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Our guide provides a common outcome measurement to enable us to compare and analyze the WIIP pilot projects.

Our guide is a pilot tool being tested with project stakeholders to address the need for cross-jurisdiction and consistent evaluation of programming, tools and services.